[33] Two Poems: Life’s Imperatives, A Prayer to my Daughter, Shreedhar Lohani

A docked boat teases the rudder
life’s tenor is the unknown
take the risk of being alive
don’t resist: allow the flow.

Breathe in the smell of the ripening rice field
look into the baby puckering its brows
to pick up a candy wrapper on the floor
throw away your cell phone
embrace your friend
keep still, be present
cherish the music that stirs the heart
meditate on the power of silence.

Patience silkens the mulberry leaf
press your ear to the ground
to listen to the music of the mole
knowledge of our mortality is a gift
each moment a glittering snowflake
life and death differ in dimension
dreams reveal the truth
Truth is twilight’s changing hues.


A Prayer to my Daughter

Thirty years have passed
Years like the albatross on the Mariner’s neck
I die every second
Seeing your beautiful little face
racked with pain
with agony writ large
‘cause I tortured you
with the knife of my adult years
to make your excellence shine
by pushing you to the edge.
It was cruelty
sheer injustice, and stupidity
yet remorselessly I branded you
with the torch of my pride
until you winced
And cried.
I hear that cry every moment
And my father’s heart screams
at my accursed wish–
I desired greatness for you
I wanted to be proud of you
on my own terms
And yet you always loved me
Gave me the rarest of smiles
No angel ever shone so brightly.
I closed my eyes to you
threatened you with exile
from the place you loved
This killed your innate joy
The hurt look in that exceedingly lovely face
haunts me till eternity
Instead of showing love
I filled my heart with ice
I too died every moment thereafter.

My fervent prayer
to you, my dear child,
forgive this old man his folly
And let him die in peace.

Both Poems Reprinted from Snow Jewel 2018, Volume 9

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